Spuds no longer cheap as chips

Alastair Horabin, owner of Seniors fish and chip shop on the Fylde coast.
Alastair Horabin, owner of Seniors fish and chip shop on the Fylde coast.
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Fish and chip shop owners across the Fylde are counting the cost of potato price rises that have more than doubled in just a few months.

Sky-rocketing prices have been caused by a harsh winter which has seen heavy rainfall saturate land and cold weather destroy crop yields.

Alastair Horabin owner of Seniors fish and chip shop, which has several chippies throughout the Fylde coast said: “It is as bad as the drought of 1976 – it is having that sort of effect on us.

“Bags of potatoes have gone from around the usual price of £7 to costing £15 to £20.

“For us it has been a huge price rise.

“We want to source the best British potatoes but we now have to look abroad to Malta, Cyprus, Spain and even Italy.”

Paul Jenkins, owner of Seafresh fish and chip shop in Bond Street, South Shore, Blackpool, added: “We were paying £4.50 a bag and now its £10. We have not put prices up because we recognise the economic climate we live in.

“We have a regular who comes in here, a farmer and he doesn’t think it is going to get any easier next year.

“One of our suppliers said that when they went to farm the land, the tops of the potatoes had formed but there was nothing underneath – nothing had really grown because of the weather.”

The National Federation of Fish Fryers said the prices are expected to rise to £650 per tonne.

That is four times the normal cost as the supply of stored, good quality potatoes diminish.

In December 2011, they were £105 a tonne.

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‘Worst price rise in a generation’

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David McCreedy, owner of Whelan’s fish and chip shop in Lytham, said the price of potatoes is the worst he has known in years.

He added: “It’s because of the harsh winter in terms of the rain and cold weather – it has ruined the crops.

“Farmers have only been managing to get 50 per cent yield when they would normally get 100 per cent.

“Prices have gone up by more than 150 per cent. It’s been the worst in a generation.

“We can’t pass the increase on to our customers – we have to absorb the cost.

“At the moment I am having to source potatoes from Poland, Spain and France it’s been that bad. We have just go to hope that the situation improves.”

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